New York State Bar Association
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New York State Bar Association

By Larry Keane

As the joke goes, the only profession with a lower approval rating than Congress is being a lawyer. A new report from the New York State Bar Association shows why that humor has legs.

This year has seen record-smashing firearm sales so far, with still nearly two months remaining. Data have shown increasing gun owner diversity, including an estimated almost seven million first-time buyers. NYSBA’s “consensus” and “collaborative” report ignores the overwhelming reason people are buying guns.

They’re concerned for their personal safety. Instead, the authors push for more restrictive laws. These policy recommendations, if adopted, would only further limit New Yorkers’ constitutional rights and do little to reduce crime.

Wishful Overreach vs. Reality

The NYSBA’s report executive summary begins . . .

“The legal profession has a responsibility to use its legal expertise to promote changes in the law that promote the public good…and NYSBA believes lawyers have a special role to play in addressing gun violence in America to protect the rule of law and the federal and state constitutions.” (emphasis added).

Never mind that “protecting the rule of law” as established by policymakers duly elected by voters and lobbying and pushing for changing the law are fundamentally polar opposite approaches to the law.

NYSBA President Scott M. Karson set the table for his group’s report, explaining recommendations made are a guide for New York lawmakers to follow and the state’s bar association has a special role to play by leading state legislators – and other states – to enact the laws they want.

A sober examination would show the state’s gun control laws are failing. Violent crime spiked by 76 percent even as Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio slashed $1 billion in police funds in a city and state with among the strictest gun laws already. In the rest of the country, crime is falling. The FBI report shows crime continues to decline even as gun ownership grows to record highs.

A Gun Control Laundry List

The NYSBA’s grab bag of gun control items includes banning modern sporting rifles and any magazine capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition. They’re likely aware that New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo already swung and missed on a standard capacity magazine ban as part of his 2013 NY SAFE Act midnight overreach. Even then, Gov. Cuomo was rebuffed twice on the magazine limit, first by a federal judge in New York and then again by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Additional recommendations include criminalizing private firearm transfers, enacting unenforceable and unconstitutional firearm storage mandates, imposing poorly drafted “red flag” laws that deny Due Process and Second Amendment rights, requiring a state license and mandatory registration to own a firearm and banning hobbyists and gunsmiths from practicing their trade. They might as well have printed a political brochure from Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety. It would’ve saved time and money.

Gun Control Rebuffed at The Ballot Box

Congressional election results show America once again rejected these gun control overtures.  Former failed presidential candidate and billionaire Michael Bloomberg spent over $1 billion to buy more seats for gun control but was rejected. Gun control groups spending millions on gun-control platforms removed “gun control” messaging from their television ads because they know voters are turned off by the message. In New York, antigun Democrats were rejected and the state Senate was denied the supermajority needed to impose gun control even stricter than what Gov. Cuomo previously attempted.

The New York State Bar Association would’ve done well to recognize what policies would actually impact and reduce criminal gun violence in the Empire State. They could have consulted the industry for our input. We would’ve been happy to educate them about Real Solutions for Safer Communities®. Unfortunately, they didn’t and will remain the butt of the joke.


Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

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  1. Let’s see,,,,,more gun laws for real people, “bail reform”, refusal to prosecute violent felons, etc. What could possibly go wrong!?

    • Pretty good summary for up here, few towns/counties over a friend told me about someone who beat the hell out of their girlfriend and smashed their phone. After she was somehow able to escape and call for help the police got a warrant for the accused’s apartment (obviously not Albany) and upon a search found body armor, an ‘assault weapon’ (NY edition) and a ghost gun (handgun). The accused was later picked up on a traffic stop charged with almost a dozen felonies and released till trial. Bail reform is lit yo.

      • Is body armor illegal in that State?

        I’ve read over the last few years that some State legislatures were trying quietly to make illegal.

        Just curious..

        • Only if it is in possession during the commission of a felony. Honestly I was just impressed the crazy had it.

        • “Only if it is in possession during the commission of a felony.”

          Was he wearing it while committing the alleged assault?

          By that logic, as an example, if someone was a gun owner and was charged with a felony like fraud, they could automatically lose their 2A rights?

          Are you sure it isn’t possession of body armor by someone who was *convicted* of a previous felony?

        • Geoff, in most states it’s both. Felons aren’t legally allowed to own body armor AND there are sentence enhancements if someone is wearing body armor during the commission of a crime. Not all that different from a firearm in that respect, actually

        • Would need to double check re felons being able to own in general as it really hasn’t come up before up here. As far as I knew it would only be possession during the commission of a felony and irrelevant in the actual crime besides an interesting footnote in what was found in a search.

        • Found it and same as the federal law that Red touched on…………also the guy likely was already a felon but waiting to see if the story actually makes the news or if we have to wait 2-3 weeks before the sheriff’s department posts it on their blotter. I think it was Rensselaer area so they would but it takes a bit.

  2. i keep reading that cuomo was unsuccessful in his mag ban, but i can assure you the limit in ny is 10 rounds. so he was successful and did not “swing and miss”

    • He swung at an even stupider and more arbitrary mag law but yeah, it would be great if the gun community that is supposed to know about this stuff could avoid being misleading like the article above.

      • I was gonna post exactly the same. And we have a defacto “assault weapon” ban already too, though there are some makes and models that get around it by ruining the ergonomics of the gun. I’m not sure where the author got his info about NY, but he clearly doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Maybe he and I could trade states…

        • Logically it’s a deliberate falsehood meant to sway opinions to support further infringement by a population that largely doesn’t know or care about the long term dangers. But never ascribe to malice what could be stupidity.

    • I personally know people in Upstate NY who have standard mags and couldn’t care less about anything Cuomo says. If the SHTF, we get a temporary WROL situation, and the Leftists come to pillage and burn, they won’t be putting the safety of their wives and children at risk because Fredo’s brother is mouthing commands from the safety of his ivory tower.

      • Large stretches of the Adirondacks are not the place to #uck around and find out. Wouldn’t even hear about the problem besides a missing person report……maybe.

        • A few years ago, I spent a few days touring the Adirondacks on motorcycle. Beautiful country and I talked to a lot of great people. I wish most of PA could combine with that area and give Philthy to NJ…

        • Almost half of all the AWs registered in NY State under the SAFE Act, were registered here in Suffolk County.

          I sure do appreciate those poor dumb bastards. Canon fodder for the first wave of confiscations. The rest of us will have plenty of warning.

  3. Wait, a bunch of lawyers recommending gun control laws for the State of New York most of which are already the law. Imagine that: lawyers who, never having been exposed to firearms, have no idea what the law already is in their own state. There is already a ten round limit, mandatory registration, and a gun permit needed not just to own a gun but to buy one in the first place. As I recall, there is some kind of an “assault weapon” ban in place. I have no idea where they stand on red flag laws, but I’d be shocked if one wasn’t in place. Useful idiots. These guys should have an army of junior associates to research the law for them before they open their mouths and let everyone know how stupid they really are.

    • Red flags we do have but need to review who can call them in. The purchase/own permit for any type of firearm is NYC the rest of the state is only for pistol to purchase/own/touch (still sucks). The assault weapon ban is the SAFE act and is between the 1994 AWB and Harris approved plan for infringement. Oh and we used to be 7 round mags but that got tossed but even after that you almost need legal training to navigate some basic issues.

      • Yep! But even with all of that, we somehow manage to be slightly less idiotic than CA and NJ.

        Well, okay… idiotic in different ways. Pick your poison I guess.

      • A friend and I were talking at a party:
        How much would you charge to just answer 3 questions?
        $200, I replied.
        Isn’t that awfully pricey?
        Sure is, now what’s your third question?

  4. So when are the good people in NY & NYC going to get up on their hind legs and boot the gun grabbers out? All I hear from up there is a lot whining. Same with other Blue States.

    • Depending on whether or not we are talking lelectoral 2021 November is the next governor election. We also were one of the most pro Trump states in terms of North East blue states besides Maine and New Hampshire. But until NYC has enough of communism we are outnumbered and legally screwed at the state level.

        • K….. So what would you suggest re legal methods that are not already being pursued to the limits of available resources?

        • Are you advocating for upstate NYers to slaughter the entire city of New York? Because that’s literally the only way they could fix the problem. I get it, numbers are hard. But imagine that upstate NY has so few people that you can count on one hand. Now imagine that NYC has even MORE people than you can count on both hands AND BOTH FEET! I know, it’s a big number. So how can such a small number of people “fix” such a significantly (oops, sorry, that’s probably too many syllables for you to understand) larger number? If you actually have a brilliant suggestion that nobody has thought of then I’m sure basically all of us would be stoked to hear it. Otherwise, kindly STFU

        • It’s funny when I hear people talk about revolution when they can’t even convince their neighbors to walk out and vote against cuomo.

          Yes, NYC is an electoral problem. But the turnout numbers north of the boroughs was atrocious in the last two gubernatorial elections.

        • Hannibal you nailed most of the issue, we did a LOT better this year but even if we had screwey ballots there are just too many comfortable people both voting for Coumo and not voting against him. Cant speak for DiBlasio’s issues as I haven’t even been through the city since the last election but for any real change it will either be a new governor or the state facing economic reality as we lose congressional seats, municipal funding, and potentially wall street from the 2020 census and general population/wealth exodus. Next year is going to be wild and sorry Florida, new Florida Man stories incomming.

  5. It appears from here that these lawyers are ignorant of the law.

    So why isn’t the state bar ass’n pulling their licenses for gross incompetence? Is this the sort of ‘profession’ that ‘the law’ has become?

  6. I used to be a member of the NYSBA. Fortunately, in NY membership in the bar association is voluntary. When I saw the NYSBA becoming a mini-ABA many years ago, I stopped paying dues.

    I also believe that lawyers have a special duty to protect the rule of law and the federal and state constitutions. Which is why I was happy to work pro bono and contribute to pro-2A cases and causes and shove it up the NYSBA’s @ss.

    The NYSBA has been taken over by anti-American fruitcakes.

    • I’m an engineer, been practicing for 20 years. I’ve thought about becoming a lawyer for several reasons including defending myself on engineering working and these kind of issues. Self defense in the legal realm. All the lawyers I talk to tell me not to bother. What’s your take?

      • The education is very much worth it. Just know that schools turn out many more lawyers than can be absorbed by the private and public sectors. But if you think it will give your engineering career a boost, by all means go for it – particularly if someone else is buying. Whether you’ll get a significant ROI is something you’ll have to research.

  7. Does anybody else have an ethical issue with the bar association advocating for laws to be enacted that will lead to criminal cases that will likely need their members to be paid to defend their clients against ? How can they advocate for defendants while lobbying for more potential criminal statutes to be used against them.

    • I think it’s called job security. My uncle used to be part of a maintenance crew. He said back in the day they’d fill potholes with dirt and rocks so they’d have to come back and fix it every so often 😉

  8. When are they going to figure out it’s not ‘gun violence’ but ‘criminal violence’ using a gun?
    The gun all by itself is nothing but a collection of parts. The person holding the gun, and using it to commit violence, is what the problem is. If all we had were wooden clubs, would they be talking about ‘tree violence’?

  9. No amount of gun control is enough for these people because they only really have one goal: the complete and total ban of all private gun ownership and the mandatory confiscation of all privately held firearms and the execution of every single person that resists or does not give up their guns. Even if they have to pass legislation mandating they complete and total extermination of every single solitary United States and found with a firearm with a nationwide door-to-door search using the entire federal government including driving tanks down your street and then having to Break down every door in this country by force and murder every single person that opposes that that is acceptable. However this is also a political ideology that is right now: for the rounding up and total extermination of all United States citizens that voted for Donald Trump as well as basically killing every single person in the country that is not them.

    I wonder if you told them you could get rid of all the guns in the United States but in order to do so we would have to deploy all 6000 nuclear warheads and exterminate all human life in the United States to do it how eager they would be to do that. Probably very eager. Because to them if you have to literally exterminate all human life in the United States to make sure this country has no more private gun ownership that is actually acceptable action to take. And since the vast majority if not the entirety of the country would oppose that you got a double win by providing their ultimate goal which is a complete and total extermination of the entire United States population that oppose them or resist them in anyway even if it means killing all human life in the United States. Which is actually what they really want because they really want to kill everyone and replace us with immigrants.

  10. “banning modern sporting rifles and any magazine capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition” – If so, would be bad news for the 5% who were stupid enough to believe promises that they would be allowed to keep them if they just registered them.

  11. These wealthy lawyers undoubtedly own firearms. Probably more than one. Maybe a few have carry permits. They live in gated communities and in buildings with security. Even their cars are parked in secure buildings each day.

    Which makes them qualified to tell the rest of us to disarm and take our chances with 911 when the mobs starts rioting. Clearly they don’t see a problem so there isn’t one.

    The criminal defense lawyers really should know better that it’s the people not the guns. But they envision a gun free world where their clients were incapable of shooting someone.

  12. The reason the NY state bar association wants more gun control is to protect their clients. If their clients get shot & killed during the commission of a felony, the lawyer has no client to defend, and therefore loses income..

  13. The rotten apple needs to be landfilled! Guns keep us free!!!%

  14. More restrictive gun laws make currently lawful citizens into criminals. Those same citizens are the hard working ones with paying jobs and assets greedy lawyers will demand be liquidated to pay their exorbitant fees. Most thuggies get a public defenders, no real money there; just trial experience prep for bigger things. Clearly more Laws eqquates to more clients and higher income for……. the legal hacks proposing the new laws. C’ mon Man, you didn’t really think this was about reducing crime/violence, did you?

    The Bar, should only direct its efforts against BAD Laws IOT change or revoke them. Never to generated new Laws, that’s for Legislators.


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